Cody was born a normal, healthy child and when he was about 3-4 years old we started to see some changes in him, gaining weight, sleeping all the time, drinking water like it was going out of style and others. When he was 5 and a half we found him unconscious and barely breathing and he was rushed to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where he stayed for over a month. He has had many hospital visits and doctor’s appointments since then.
Cody was diagnosed withROHHADwhich is short for Rapid Onset Obesity, Hypothalamic Dysfunction, Hypoventilation, and Autonomic Dysregulation. All big words that basically mean a part of his brain which controls all of his autonomic nervous system is not functioning properly. He is not able to control his heart rate, breathing, hormones, body temperature etc. He is also not able to control his weight and everything we have tried in the past has never worked at all.
Cody continued to gain a large amount of weight and it seemed like there was no stopping it. He joined a program through the Children’s Hospital and helped him to control his portion sizes and gave him tips on eating. They also offered a fitness program, but he only attended it one time because Cody was unable to keep up with the other kids. It’s an amazing program and works well for most children, but Cody isn’t most children. He has a trach and we have to watch his oxygen and CO2 levels closely or he could go into respiratory arrest without warning. He wasn’t able to keep up with the other kids because he would turn blue and his oxygen levels would get dangerously low and his CO2 levels would go dangerously high. Cody was so down on himself for not being able to keep up he would often get very depressed about his weight and his condition and would almost give up.
The doctors all told Cody and our family we needed to try anything to help him lose some more weight or even if we could just keep him where he was at so he would not gain anymore as he was dangerously close to having even more health issues and stopping his growth process.
We looked into joining a gym and no one had anything to offer for kids and they were all very costly. We remembered about the Heroes program offering fitness activities at the Kroc Center so we decided to go and look.
The moment we walked into the doors (of the Kroc Center) we fell in love. The staff at the front desk were so helpful and they showed us around and told us what they had to offer. They got the Fitness and Aquatics Managers involved and had us meet with some of the trainers and gave us a plan for Cody and helped us every step of the way. They allowed Cody to do some of the things that most children are not able until they are slightly older, all because I was able to work with him and monitor him very closely. We explained what we wanted out of a gym and they told us we were in the right place.
Cody has flourished since he became a Kroc member. He started out very timid and skeptical by walking in the lazy river. Before he even knew how far he had walked he was hitting 1-2 miles every time he walked. This helped his stamina and the staff at the Kroc Center gave him the confidence, ability and equipment to work towards his goals.
Once Cody started to see results he has never looked back. He started out weighing 216 pounds when we joined in June of 2016 and he is currently down to 174 pounds (November 2016). Cody has worked so hard and is accomplishing things that no one ever thought was possible. He works out at home now and at the Kroc Center. He has never felt or looked better than he does right now. He has a goal of getting down to 150 pounds by the end of the year or by his birthday in March. The staff continues to motivate him and he really enjoys the classes they offer. He is currently enrolled in kids boxing and he absolutely loves going every week.
I could not be more proud of him and he has motivated me to get back into shape as well. He is my little work out buddy. I love the Kroc Center and all of the staff for being there and being so kind and helpful on Cody’s journey. They are helping my family and I to save him little by little every day. He will always continue to have health challenges because of his syndrome but the Kroc Center has made it a goal to help him feel special, “normal” and loved every time he goes. I will forever be indebted to the Kroc Center for everything that they have done for my family and I, by helping one of God’s special creations named Cody.#